Meade LXD55 SN-8


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Brand and Model:Meade LXD55 SN-8
Price ($USD):$729 + $85
Type:Shmidt-Newtonian
Attributes: checked Go-To un-checked PEC
Aperture:203mm (8")
f Ratio:f/4
Focal Length:812mm
Finder:6x30
Electric Power:8batteries/12vDC car/115vAC home
Mount:LXD55
Tripod:aluminium
Weight (lbs):lbs.
Dimensions (w/h/d):
Description:dual-axis control system with digital readout display
9-speed drive controls
30,223-object celestial software library and automatic GO TO object-locating
Battery pack accepting eight (user-supplied) D-cells (optional 25 ft. cords permit powering from either 12vDC auto cigarette lighter plug or from 115vAC home outlet)

Meade's LXD55 Page

Vote Highlights Vote
Meade LXD55 SN-8
Excellent optics. A better match for the mount than the SN-10, which is way too heavy for the mount.

Tripod legs are a bit flimsy, and mount needs constant maintainence to make it point well.

Still, a good value if you are willing to work on it.

Overall Rating: 5
Optics:8 Mount:3 Ease of Use:3 Value:2
Weight: 11 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: TelescopeFan
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=169312


Meade LXD55 SN-8
These are my first impression comments, I have yet to get the scope out under a dark sky..... The overall package is very impressive looking. The mount looks very nice but if you really look closely it is definitely Chinese. The hardware is very soft and appears to be low quality. Be careful with the internal hex screws as the sockets round easily! The optical tube weight 25 lbs which is more then the tripod can carry in my opinion. There will be a booming aftermarket for improved tripod legs for this mount. The damping times at at 30x seemed to be around 3 seconds, I can't imagine them at 200x.... Most of the problems were in the tripod wich can be swapped for a nice wood one though. My other issues are with the f/4 optics, be sure to collimate everytime you use it and buy ONLY the best eyepieces! The central obstruction is huge (39%) with the 3.1" secondary mirror. It appears that Meade sized the secondary mirror to fully illuminate a 35mm film frame. Pity the stock mount won't be very suitable for photography through the scope. Another little niggle is that swapping from 1 1/4" to 2" eyepieces requires screwing an adapter ring ooff and on the focuser draw tube. There should be a simple adapter included to make this task faster.

Overall Rating: 5
Mount:6 Ease of Use:9 Value:6
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: kb0nes
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=104543

Well I don't have the scope yet, but what I want to say is that the obstraction is not 39%! What counts is the area obstructed, that is A=pi*r^2. r=radius, pi=3.14...
So the area of the mirror is A1=129717,1 mm^2 and the area of the secondary if it is 3.1" as you say A2=19477,84 mm^2.
The obstruction of the secondary is A2/A1=15%.

Meade LXD55 SN-8
Well obviously the persons who say the LXD55 goto system cant find anything are wrong. They need to learn how to use it before they start babbling. I have had the SN8 since August and I admit the first few times out I couldnt figure it out but after a week NO PROBLEM. My gotos with autostar are just perfect. If the mount is level and the scope aligned well with Polaris and your coordinates are entered properly,autostar is totally amazing. As for the mount, with the SN series you only need to raise the legs just a few inches and the scope remains steady enough for viewing. For astrophotography you may want a better tripod but that is the case with alot of scopes, even some Celestrons. Once you learn how to use the mount and autostar it really is stunning what you can do. Now that I have had the scope for 4 months I can set it up, and align it in 10 minutes. I spend all of my time now looking at objects, not looking for them. As for the optics they are very good. I have been to several star parties and compared the images to several Schmidt Cassagrains and the SN were a little brighter and on Saturn a bit sharper. I know a SN is not the best planetary scope out there but this scope does do very well with planets.As for the focuser the only parts that are plastic are the base and the knobs. The drawtube, insert, and gears are all metal. I will say the focuser is marginal but it works. Overall performance I would rate it 9 out of 10 wich is very good. The eyepiece deal that comes with the scope for 99 dollars is very nice. Soooo for a beginner the scope may be a little overwhelming but for the price you cant go wrong. If you look at the yahoo group LXD55telescopes you will note there are over 1400 members and only a handfull report problems.

Anthony phelancrazy@earthlink.net

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:10 Mount:8 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 4 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.222.75)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=161062


Meade LXD55 SN-8
I have had my LXD55 SN8 since June 2002, probably one of the first units shipped. I did expierence some of the issues that everyone has more than adequatly ruminated over.

Bottom line, the scope is great and is a great value for your money. Meade is average to work with, and the scope is of good overall quality. Don't expect everything to be perfect, as this is a new product--and remember what you paid for it. Nothing commonly found wrong with this scope is beyond user repair.

Read the many reviews on the many sites regarding this scope. Everyone gripes about the small things that were wrong in the initial shipments, and about the occasional Meade screw up. But no one that I can recall has said one bad thing about the optics. The views in this scope are fantastic. I have split the rings on Saturn, viewed multiple bands and festoons on Jupiter, observed Neptune, looked "3D" at many open and closed clusters, and been amazed and nebulas and galaxies.

This scope is simply awsome for the amount of money you have invested in it.

I highly reccommend the Meade LXD55 SN8.

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:10 Mount:6 Ease of Use:5 Value:10
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.129.3)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=202096


Meade LXD55 SN-8
Gave it an overall 9 ONLY for the value of money because the scopes are riddled with problems. My mount is still trying to be fixed by Meade. Vernier scales are useless - as they are only square STICKERS on a CURVED surface. Meade is trying to mimic TASCO with these mounts. But with the GoTo (if I ever get a functioning mount) and the corrected optics - it is a good deal.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:8 Mount:3 Ease of Use:5 Value:6
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.24.127)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=135207


Meade LXD55 SN-8
Good views.Good views. Coma quite visible, despite the corrective lens. Of course, it's important to allow the scope to cool down properly and to have it collimated accurately. Since it is an enclosed design, the cool down period is longer than with open-ended Newtonians, but the optics inside are better protected. Main mirror collimation is quite easy. The finder scope is sub-standard.

The tripod is flimsy even with all the screws tight - it twists under the weight of the scope and a slightest bump will dislodge it from previously established alignment. The polar mount is fine, but motors are very loud at full speed and it is virtually imperative to use the "quiet" mode, which is not whisper quiet either at higher speeds. Made in China quality is quite apparent.

The Autostar system is prone to malfunctioning: mine has developed a habit to "forget" calibration at each power up, and it goes crazy until I manage to find the calibration menu entry and perform the motor calibration again - after which it starts to behave normally. The "easy align" is limited in that it chooses its own stars, which makes it useless on my balcony from which I cannot see half of the sky. The 1 or 2-star alignments make the OTA hit the tripod legs - there is no description in the manual as to what the system is expected to do in these cases. Autostar allows for re-alignment when centered at the current object (press and hold Enter, then press again to confirm after a beep) but this does not appear to greatly improve the accuracy of tracking if other things are not set precisely. For some reason, you cannot "park" the scope and then resume normal operation without power cycling the system. The AC or battery connector wobbles in its socket when plugged in - a possible source of power fluctuations and consequent Autostar problems.

This telescope is not for a casual observer. It requires dedication to maintain and operate. On the other hand, it is a good learning tool as you will spend time and effort figuring out problems and trying to understand the operation. Some limitations are part of the generic design of a Newtonian: the OTA, for example, needs to be rotated in its mount to allow reasonable access to the eyepiece as the scope changes its orientation - not a very convenient thing to do with an almost 30 pound unit; also, at some angles the eyepiece will end up to high or too low, something which cannot be adjusted satisfactorily without changing the length of the legs, which means all your alignment efforts will have to be repeated again.

I have doubts about the scope's applicability to deep-sky astrophotography. The chief culprit is the tripod which will make precise long-exposure tracking impossible. A secondary CCD-assisted tracking would be a necessity. The newer LXD75 looks more promissing. However, as an observational instrument the system works well and some inaccuracy in tracking or go-to's can be easily tolerated.

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:8 Mount:5 Ease of Use:6 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.174.68)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=448465


Meade LXD55 SN-8
Optics are very good and I have had a lot of impressive views through it. But the goto/motors are a joke. After owning it for about a year I began to have many problems with the goto system. Sometimes the motors were unresponcive or responded several several MINUTES later. Othertimes, while tracking, I would suddenly start slewing at maximum speed. I would have to turn it off before it slewed into the tripod. I've desided to give up on electronics (and Meade) and buy a dob.

Overall Rating: 3
Optics:9 Mount:7 Ease of Use:1 Value:3
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.48.81)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=431570


Meade LXD55 SN-8
I try this telescope, and the optics is very good, just i have to collimation the optics to perform well. Tha mount is very stable to me, I have the EC controller, and I have to balance the mount because the motors doesnt have the enought power to move the heavy load. But manually the mount is easy to move and i like the polar finder. I think this telescopes is very valuable, because I didnt find other telescope under $700 with this features.

Overall Rating: 7
Optics:8 Mount:6 Ease of Use:7 Value:8
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.154.63)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=310955


Meade LXD55 SN-8
Works well both optically and mechanically. Computer control is a joy to use - once you are used to it! Unfortunately the setting up instructions and handbook that come with the telescope are not very good. Apart from that however the system is great. Highly recommended!!!

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:8 Mount:9 Ease of Use:5 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.237.232)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=188087


Meade LXD55 SN-8
Some parts of this instrument are excellent, some are awful. My budget drove the decision - it's the cheapest GOTO telescope you'll find. But astrophotography is going to be more difficult than I expected, because the mount just isn't very well built. Eg: the polar alignment scope can be (and indeed must be) properly aligned with the R.A. axis, but the mechanical and optical design make this very difficult to do. It may actually be easier and more accurate to use the drift method of polar alignment than to fight with the miserable polar scope. Another bad feature is the finder scope. Set too close to the OTA and with a tiny FOV, it's almost impossible to get your eye up to it to search. You'll want to replace it with a better scope. Finally, expect long lead times from Meade, and expect the first instrument they ship to you to be defective. Quality control there is very poor, but they will make good, eventually.

On the up side, if you're not interested in photography and just want to find things in the sky easily, it works very well! I did a very rough alignment on my first night out, using Autostar's 2-star alignment. Light polution hid Polaris from my view, and it was bitter cold so I didn't want to linger. I pointed it vaguely North and used the "swirl" method to set the "polar home" position. All you do is set Dec. to what you think is zero and test it by slewing rapidly in R.A. If dec is truely zero, the stars in the eyepiece will appear to swirl around the center of the field of view. If instead they sweep past, adjust dec and try again. It only takes a couple of minutes and is very easy. When you finish, your OTA is now pointed exactly along the mount's R.A. axis, although that axis may not be well aligned with the celestial axis.

After pressing ENTER to tell Autostar I'd found polar home, it prompted me to find Capella and slewed to the approximate position. I centered that and pressed ENTER, then it prompted me to do the same with Deneb (note: these stars were chosen by Autostar for that particular date/time/location, and won't always be the ones chosen).

With these easy steps, Autostar calibrated its electronic setting circles. I now asked it to go find Saturn, and it worked! The telescope stopped slewing with the ringed planet just barely in the FOV, in spite of poor polar alignment. I suspect that, if I had done a reasonable polar alignment, it would have been dead center in the FOV.

Bottom line: If you're serious about astro-photography, save up for a more serious scope, or plan on spending a lot of time & aggravation getting it properly aligned and tight. But if you're only interested in exploring the sky with your eye, it's a terrific value!

Overall Rating: 5
Optics:8 Mount:3 Ease of Use:7 Value:8
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.0.43)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=180962

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